Meeting beloved Disney characters has become a cornerstone of a Walt Disney World vacation. On April 1, 2011, Mickey Mouse and the Princesses got a new home for meet and greets in the Magic Kingdom at the Town Square Theater. Along with this new venue come changes that will affect the way guests experience characters. So, what exactly does this mean for the way guests tour the park? Come with me to the Magic Kingdom, and I’ll show you.
It’s a beautiful, sunny, Florida day. Disney music and the smell of freshly popped popcorn fill the air. We’ve only just entered the gates, and already the excitement is building. First stop? To meet some of our favorite characters! We check out the Lines application to see what the wait times and FASTPASS return times look like. According to Lines the waits aren’t too bad, so let’s head on over.
We stay to the right to go through the tunnel under the railroad tracks, since that is the correct side to get to the Theater. Directly ahead is a sign directing us to Town Square Theater where we can meet Mickey Mouse and the Princesses.
Since FASTPASS is available for the first time at a meet and greet, we decide to give that a shot. As we pass the Theater, we enter the current standby wait times into Lines and then head towards The Chapeau (the hat store on Main Street, USA). We hang a right, and see the FASTPASS booths. There are 2 machines each for Mickey and the Princesses. Each booth is labeled with a pair of mouse ears on top so we know which is the correct one to use. We choose the Mickey Mouse machine, stick in our park tickets, and get a FASTPASS for later in the day (don’t forget to enter the FASTPASS return times in Lines!).
Now that we have our FASTPASS for Mickey, we’re going to head in to wait in the Standby line for the Storybook Princesses. We head up the steps and into the lobby of the theater. Directly ahead are two archways that designate the line for Princesses (on the left) and Magician Mickey Mouse (on the right). We head to the left, and are greeted by a Cast Member. We are then shown to the entrance of the Standby line.
The Princess and the Mickey queues are in the same large room and run together in a mystifying way, so that when the lines are long, it will be difficult to determine exactly how long your line is. Luckily, it isn’t very crowded today, so we breeze past the Magician Mickey themed posters and head straight to the back of the room for the Princesses. To occupy us during our time in line, the pictures on the wall come to life and present multiple choice trivia questions about different Disney Princesses. While it may seem like a small touch, it makes the wait much more tolerable! We finally make it to the front of the line, are asked how many are in our party, and head in to a large room with another, smaller line.
There they are! Cinderella, Aurora, and Belle are standing along a beautiful backdrop, with the image of rolling hills near Cinderella castle, meeting guests one group at a time. Looking around, it’s pretty clear that this is a temporary home; their isn’t much of a theme, or decoration. It’s just a place for them to meet until the Fantasyland Expansion is complete. Once we get to the front, it’s a typical meet and greet. We pose for pictures with Cinderella, warn Aurora to stay away from spinning wheels, and discuss our favorite books with Belle. Now, it’s time to leave so that they can visit with their other admiring fans. We exit (don’t forget your Photopass!) and head down a hallway where we are dumped into (you guessed it) a shop. Although the shop is mostly themed to Magician Mickey, the portion where we come in is full of Princess merchandise. We browse for a bit, but it’s time for us to use our FASTPASS to see Mickey!
We exit the shop, and head right back into the Theater lobby. This time, we take the right path, show our FASTPASS to the Cast Member, and are shown to the FASTPASS queue to see Mickey. On the way through, we notice the posters on the wall. They show Mickey performing magic tricks, but…something about them is strange. The pictures are moving! We stand for a bit and watch. Even though there isn’t much of a line, we want to see what happens. The posters are fantastic!
Then, we go on, headed in to see Mickey Mouse. We wait for a very short time (love that FASTPASS), and are ushered into a Magician’s dressing room. Inside we see Mickey (and rumor has it that occasionally Minnie drops in too) greeting guests before his big show. As we look around the room, we notice so many fun touches! A note from Presto! the Magician, tributes to Disney parks around the world, even an escaped rabbit! We’re so engrossed looking at everything, we don’t even realize it’s our turn to see Mickey! After lots of hugs and photos we’re ushered out and back into the same shop as before, but from the other side. Once again, we spend some time exploring the well-themed area, and even find an artifact from Mickey’s old garage in Toontown.
Are you excited to see the new Town Square Theater? Have you already been? Let us know what you think!